By Chris Robinson
There has been a lot of uncertainty with trainer Freddie Roach these days, as question marks had hovered around his three recent high-profile athletes.
Tonight, inside of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Roach will lead Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. into battle against Argentina’s Sergio Martinez. Despite being the WBC’s champion at 160 pounds, the 26-year old Chavez is an underdog heading into what undoubtedly is the most dangerous fight of his career.
It was recently announced by various outlets that Roach’s number-one fighter, eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, is in line for a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The process of ironing out Pacquiao’s next opponent was extremely exhausting, however, and the latest rumors of the Filipino star’s connection to rapper 50 Cent have raised even more questions.
It was July 14th when Roach worked the corner of former champion Amir Khan, but it was a disastrous night for the British star. Facing off with brash Danny Garcia inside of the Mandalay Bay, Khan was leveled by a wicked left hook in the third round and he saw the bout waived off one round and two knockdowns later.
So devastating was Khan’s loss to Garcia, that Amir has decided to part ways with Roach and appears to be on the verge of announcing of announcing his new trainer.
Speaking to a select group of media members on Thursday inside of the Wynn Hotel and Casino, Roach revealed that he had actually had a preference of Pacquiao facing off with Garcia with the obvious hope being that his star fighter would end up outperforming Khan.
“I wanted him to fight the guy Garcia, Danny Garcia,” Roach revealed. “I wanted that fight because Amir Khan says that I don’t teach defense to him and Manny Pacquiao. Why did he compare himself to Manny Pacquiao? It depends what I taught him. Let’s see what Manny does with your last opponent. Manny wouldn’t lose a round.”
But Roach can’t focus on Garcia, as Pacquiao will surely have his hands full with Marquez in less than three months. And for as hard as Pacquiao has tried to upend Marquez clearly and despite his 2-0-1 record against his Mexico City rival, he never clearly defeated him on the scorecards, as their first three fights were all back-and-forth thrillers.
“The game plan I’ve set for him for the last three fights, I know it’s the right game plan, but the thing is, it’s not working in the fights,” Roach would continue as he looked towards another Marquez match. “I haven’t come up with a good idea yet to know what I need to do for him to win that fight but I’m thinking every day. As I watch tape of his opponent, we will come up with an answer.”
Roach then gave credit to Pacquiao, pointing out that he never had to go through with another Marquez fight in the first place.
“It’s the most challenging fight but the thing is, he picked it,” said Roach. “He didn’t have to pick Marquez. He could have picked a [Tim] Bradley rematch or an easier fight.
“He has balls,” Roach added of Pacquiao.